Sometimes being orientated in really disorienting. This is especially true of medical school, where one day you are watching Netflix in your underwear, and the next you are being invited by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin to help him make Madison the healthiest place on the planet. That’s a tall order, you think to yourself. Where do I even begin?
Well, no fear, that’s what orientation is for. Day 1, before even so much as a hello from faculty, we are face-to-face with patients. Not the sneezy, bedridden, hooked-up-to-IV kind of patients. These are patients who have had a great experience with the UW health system and have volunteered to share their stories. So for the first two and a half hours of medical school we get a first-hand look at the impact we can have in our careers. For example, a single consultation with a new primary care doctor can set a veteran addict on the road to recovery. Modern medicine gives a child with juvenile diabetes a chance at life. The list goes on.
The highlight of Day 2 is the writing of the CODE. We break into our five Potter-esque houses to draft different aspects of the oath we will take when we receive our white coats. My group is tasked with completing the phrase “For ourselves we will…” We focus on self-care and the importance of maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle (you are your first patient, right?). The other groups focus on “For my patients/community/teachers/colleagues I will…” If you are curious about oath-taking in the medical profession, here’s an insightful article to get you started.
Days 3, 4, and 5, would you believe we actually have classes? I open my course schedule and am bombarded with highfalutin names like “Molecular and Medical Genetics” and “Comprehensive Human Biochemistry.” Am I sick if a course titled “Cell Structure and Function” gets me more excited than a kitten in a yarn factory? (P.s. I will make a lot of references to kittens as a positive mood regulator.)
In the end, orientation left me a little more confused about the technology we’re using, but at least I learned that all of my classes are in the same room and start on the hour.